Tropical wetlands

You can practically watch it grow! The new leaves on the Victoria cruziana are unraveling at an exponential rate, the heavily barbed rafts rapidly stretching out into puckered lilypads with 3-5 centimeter high rims featuring distinctive notches to let the rainwater out. We are expecting the lilypads, native to the shallow warm waters of Parana-Paraguay basin to reach 3 metres diameter. The flowers are also spectacular, opening in the evening to attract beetle pollinators. The flowers then close up, trapping the beetle until sunrise and covering it in pollen when the flowers then open up again to release the insect to venture forth to another flower, transfer the overnighted pollen and effect pollination.
The dark water also reflects the flotation device swollen stems of the water hyacinth and some parasol leaves of Nelumbo currently standing well clear of the water. The surrounding tropical wetland vegetation is thickening up nicely and some really beautiful passionflowers are rapidly colonizing the wires across the roof canopy which will provide valuable shade over the summer months.

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